This publication contains “prose, poetry, and art exploring Arab American.” Mizna the organization is dedicated to supporting Arab-American culture and giving is expression. “Mizna” the word means “the cloud of the desert.” In a desert, a cloud is good, cooling, giving comfort to those who pass through – a big difference maker. This publication is short – about eighty pages, but packs a wallop.
There is some striking, stylized visual art in the center pages by Bashir Makhoul, with scenes in earthen tones overlaid upon one another. It boasts a one-act play, “Western Mentality,” by Robert Caisley. This play has two characters, a “young Arab-American executive,” and “A big ol’ cowboy,” and sarcastically, comically puts on trial the “us against them” mentality that damages the Western relations with the Middle East.
A very satisfying, upbeat poem written by Assef Al-Jundi is “I Died Many Times Before” – a twist on our Western saying, “A coward dies a thousand times.” This poem emphasizes not bravery and cowardice (Western values), but family, prudence, self-control, abstinence, coolness under pressure, and faith in a higher power (Eastern values). An essay by Randy Holland, “Happy Ending,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is both serious and comic, and gives details and insights about the history of the conflict that might be little known. A very moving poem begins, “She whispers, ‘Please Doctor. My child. / Must be born now.’” This poem, “This Day in Baghdad,” by Wendy Brown-Baez, is a dramatic picture of what war has done to everyday life, has done to innocent people in Iraq. This journal should be required reading for every American citizen.